Nikola Kalinic's red card tarnishes Blackburn's win at West Bromwich

Nikola Kalinic's red card tarnishes Blackburn's win at West Bromwich They came to bury Steve Kean, not to praise him, but Blackburn's suffering supporters were eventually moved to stop chanting the name of the late, lamented Jack Walker and venture a chorus or two of "Keano, Keano, give us a wave" to salute their obscure new manager's first win.

Rovers' followers are well practised at gallows humour these days, and between celebratory verses they teased the home crowd with: "We're winning away, how shit must you be, we're winning away." It was only his third game in charge, but Kean needed this result, the Ewood natives volubly restless after the takeover by Indians they seem to regard as a bunch of cowboys.

Today it was the turn of the "Boing Boing" fraternity to express their displeasure after Albion's seventh defeat in the last 10 Premier League matches. Blackburn's new owners should have recognised their opponents' defending, reminiscent as it was of headless chickens. Kean emerged from what he described as a "buoyant" dressing room to praise his team's attitude and application, but accepted the news was not all good.

Nikola Kalinic, who scored twice, is now suspended for three matches after a red card for a high tackle on Paul Scharner, and Paul Robinson had to withdraw at half‑time with a calf strain. It was Albion, however, who were left with the long faces, Manchester United on New Year's Day standing between them and the urgently needed improvement.

Sam Allardyce signed Kalinic for £6m, and if the Croat had played for him the way he did here the deposed manager might still be in a job. Instead, these two goals took his total to a meagre six in 38 league appearances.

Albion were on the back foot from the start, conceding after only three minutes when Kalinic ran on to a long through ball from Morten Gamst Pedersen before shooting in past Scott Carson from left to right. Where the right-back, Gonzalo Jara, was during all this was anybody's guess.

Equality was restored after 17 minutes, Somen Tchoyi's right-wing cross providing Jerome Thomas with a routine finish at the far post. Thomas, restored to the starting line-up in the absence of Chris Brunt, who was suspended, threatened again after exchanging passes with Graham Dorrans, but it was Rovers who took the lead after 53 minutes, when Pedersen's corner from the left found its way via Ryan Nelsen to Kalinic, who headed in at close range.

Rovers' third goal saw one Diouf set up another, El Hadji crosssing from the left for Mame to stoop and score from nodding distance. It was now that Kalinic was sent off, leaving his team with 10 men, and vulnerable. They were well served by their substitute goalkeeper, Mark Bunn, whose instinctive save thwarted Simon Cox, but the understudy was helpless when Scharner's late header shivered the crossbar.

Defending with commendable resolution, Nelsen to the fore, Blackburn survived the pressure and had done their job by the time Gabriel Tamas was sent off for flattening Mame Diouf.

Powered by article was written by Joe Lovejoy at The Hawthorns, for The Guardian on Tuesday 28th December 2010 21.10 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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